When the stress of holiday shopping is getting you down it is time to shop small. Boutiques are comforting retreats compared to crowded malls and big box stores. There are a many to choose from in Pittsburgh and one of my favorites is Mid-Atlantic Mercantile in Lawrenceville. Emily Slagel is the knowledgeable proprietor and will personally guide you toward the right gift. Her entrepreneurial vision pays homage to the industrious spirit of the Mid-Atlantic region. You will find unique handpicked items from independent local designers sitting among a well-edited mix of vintage clothing and antique housewares. Everything is made in America and reeks of proud quality. The shop contains a carefully curated collection of heirloom quality goods. The brands you find here represent the union of craftsmanship and innovation. One of my favorites is the Whiskey After-Shave Splash made with sea minerals that pamper the skin with nourishing natural ingredients. It is just one in a line of products containing a magical scent that transports you to a place of tranquility. Picture relaxing below deck at the end of a long day on the wild ocean with a favorite Scotch in hand. You will also find Cone Mills raw selvedge denim jeans that will transport you straight back to 1972 with pants so stiff you couldn’t sit down for two days. This trend has returned and the trick is not to wash them. That way you break in that lived in look that reeks of personality and character. You will also find hand poured candles from Ohio with scents like elemental winter, hearth and roasted coffee bean. The latter turned out to be the perfect gift for my daughter’s two awesome male teachers.
A visit to the store is an experience that evokes the casual comfort of visiting a good friend. The hardwood floors and antler decor have the feel of a lodge in the woods that is enhanced by the welcoming scent of the hand poured candles. It is a great place to escape when you need time to think. You will also encounter friendly and eclectic shoppers. I have met some very interesting people here. It encourages a sense of collaboration in your shopping quest. The checkout process is topped off with the delightful surprise of a sturdy cloth bag bearing the store logo. You can’t help but leave in an ebullient mood that wafts you on to your next destination.